Baroque can be defied as the florid, ornate style characterizing fine artsin Europe from the middle 16th to middle 18th centuries. The maincharacteristic of the baroque architecture is movement. Architectswanted their buildings to be exciting and to give the impression of activity. They did this by making dramatic contrasts of light and shadow and by usingcurved shapes. The Renaissance enthusiasm for antiquityled the architects to adhere to the rules of classic architecture as faras they were understood.
The baroque style flouted these laws. By mid-century the carefully controlled and subtly refined Classical Baroquetrend was clearly established. In France, its pre-eminent positionwas never seriously challenged. French Baroque architecture was morerestrained in its expression than its Italian counterpart. The mostcommon and remembered details that made the two styles different were itsculture, economy, religion, government, and economics.
These canmake one style very different from the other, but there were also otherreasons why. Italians were the first to comeup with Baroque architecture, they became very interested in the surroundingsof their buildings. They placed elaborate gardens around places. They set off important buildings in the cities by open squares decoratedwith fountains or colonnades. Roads leading from the squares givinga dramatic view of stairways, sculpture, or other buildings far in thedistance. These were some of the things the Italians thought up whenthey first started up this new style, so when the french took in the Italiansideas, they surly changed them into what they were looking for.
TheFrench architects were full cognizant of the principals discovered in Italy,but they were also influenced by traditional French values and chose tolimit their architectural vocabulary in accordance with them. Withinthese self-imposed limits they produced works of great order wherein varietywas achieved principally through subtle adjustments in rhythm and proportionsof mass and wall surface. While the French went for the massive butyet most rhythmical and dynamic composition, in Italy, there was a strongdirectional emphasis put to use. The three most important and notable baroquearchitects in France in the 17th century were Jacques Lemercier (1580/5-1654),a man who was a master of delicate elegant line and graceful silhouetteswhich he ingeniously combined with forceful mass. He was most notedfor his work on the Church of the Sorbonne.
Next is Francois Mansart(1598-1666), a man who’s exteriors and interiors, composed with scrupulouspurity and infinite stability, make him in architecture the cornerstoneof French Baroque Classicism. He was best known for his workon the Ste Marie de la Visitation and Chateau of Blois. Finally LouisLevau (1612-1670), a man who emphasized on terraced, parterres, pools,fountains, all to provide an axial relationship to his work. He wasbest known for his work on the Chateau and Gardens of Vaux-le-Vicomte andCollege des Quatre Nations. The wide variety of expression inherentin the Baroque can be best understood by examining the works of ItaliansFrancesco Borromini (1599-1666), Guarino Guarini (1624-1683) and GiovanniLorenzo Bernini (1598-1680). Francesco in many ways, was the spiritualfather of Guarini.
Born in Canton Ticino in the Alps, he went toRome where he stayed his whole life. Suspicious, moody, and dedicated,he, almost fanatical in his pursuit of perfection, carefully supervisedall the stages of his design. He is most remembered for the Carloall Quattro Fontane and the Ivo. Guarino the only architect who developedthe expressive power of structure and space to even greater degrees thanany body else. He was many things including a teacher and a priest,but is remembered for his works of art. He might not have the longestlist of works, but the ones he actually did complete were praised for effortput into them.
He is most remembered for the work on the Turin andthe Church of the Immaculate Conception. Giovanni, one of the mostbrilliant and energetic of all the 17th century artists, was know for hisdepth in all aspects of Baroque. He did not spend all his time onarchitecture, but when he did, the final product was in a class of itsown. He is remembered for his work on the Andrea al Quirinale andChigi-Odescalchi. Each architect who came into the seentried to outdo the others, that is why Baroque architecture stretched thelimits of what could be done. It paved a road for all otherstyles to come, showing that different doesn’t necessarily mean abhorrent.
The Baroque period came after the technically perfect Renaissance period,and was followed be the Rococo period. Most people cancel the baroqueperiod out, but the way it looks, baroque defined all odds and caught theeye of art people in Europe, single handedly changing the way we look atarchitecture and art in a whole. Artists and Their WorksITALIAN ARTISTSArtist Name of Workyear*Illustration*Pietri da Cortona -SS. Martina eLuca 1635-1650Bernardo Vittone -S. Chiara 1742Gian Lorenzo Bernini -Chigi-Odescalchi-S. Andrea al Quirnale 16641658-1670Francesco Borromini -S.
Carlo alleQuattro Fontane-Ivo 1638-411642-1650Guarino Guarinin -S. Lorenzo-Palazzo Carignano-Church of the Immaculate Conception1666-16791679-16921672-97Alessandro Specchi -Porta di Ripetta1703Filippo Raguzzini -Piazza S. Ignazio-S. Maria della Quercia 1727-17281727Filippo Juvarra -Church of the Carmine1732-1735FRENCH ARTISTSArtist Name of WorkYear*Illustration*Jules Hardouin Mansart -Church ofLes Invalides 1680-1691Jacques Lemercier -Church of theSorbonne 1635Francois Mansart -Ste. Marie dela Visitation-Chateau of Blois-Chateau of Maisons 1632-16341635-16381642-1646Louis Levau -College des QuatreNations-Chateaq and Gardens ofVaux-le-Vicomte 16621657-1661